by John Milton
Last month's list of expensive sales ranges from poetry and handwritten letters to murder and artifacts, but leading the top 10 at just over $13,000 is a collection of volumes of The London Magazine, or Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer, dating back to its inaugural issue in 1732. Another magazine, The Strand, comes in at number four with the sale of 12 issues from July 1891 to June 1892. The significance? The Sherlock Holmes stories made their first appearance in these issues.
Poetry lovers will be pleased to see John Milton and Robert Frost on the list. A signed first edition of Frost's Collected Poems ranks second place, while a beautiful first edition of Milton's lesser-known work, Paradise Regain'd, comes in at third. Religious writer Thomas Ellwood inspired Milton to write Paradise Regain'd as a follow up to the famous Paradise Lost. Another interesting piece of poetry amongst last month's top sales is a memoir and collection of poems by Phillis Wheatley, a slave and the first African-American woman to be published. The first edition collection sold for $8,250.
October's list also includes two handwritten letters from Virginia Woolf, a first edition Agatha Christie mystery, a signed first edition copy of Fahenheit 451, and a limited edition portfolio of Pueblo Indian pottery.
3. Paradise Regain'd, A Poem by John Milton - $9,000
A 1671 first edition of Milton's follow up to Paradise Lost. The edition includes the first edition of Milton's classic tragic drama Samson Agonistes.
4. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - $8,905
The original appearance of the Sherlock Holmes stories in Strand Magazine in 12 issues from July 1891 to June 1892.
5. Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley by Phillis Wheatley - $8,250
A first edition from a pioneer of African-American literature who defied slavery and became a published poet.
6. Handwritten letter from Virginia Woolf to Julian Morell - $7,500
Writing in her characteristic purple ink, Woolf congratulates the daughter of Lady Ottoline and Philip Morrell on the occasion of her marriage. "We both think that you will make the most charming of wives & we are both rather envious of your husband. Perhaps one day when you aren't too busy you will come with him & then we can tell him so to his face."
7. Handwritten letter from Virginia Woolf to Lettice Fisher $6,799
The letter is addressed to the economist and historian Lettice Fisher, the wife of Woolf's cousin Herbert. She writes, "Thanks so much for your letters. Yes, it is years since we met; I think Norham Road - was it? - was the last time - long before the new generation had been born. The later date will suit me best - so I will come on Thursday Nov 30th - I wish Leonard could come, but he can't get away in the week, + we spend almost all weekend in Sussex. But I shall like coming, if I may, alone."
8. Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie - $6,456
A 1936 first edition in its original dust jacket featuring the famous Hercule Poirot.
9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - $6,050
A signed first edition of Bradbury's most famous work. The front free endpaper reads, "John Melville! Ray Bradbury, Oct. 8, 1982."
10. Pueblo Indian Pottery by Kenneth M. Chapman and C. Szwedzicki - $6,000
A rare limited edition with introduction written by Kenneth M. Chapman, Curator of Indian Arts Fund, and signed by publisher C. Szwedzicki. Two volumes in original portfolios containing 100 photo-lithographic hand-colored plates.